Literary Work 551
Forest Commencement of 1852, not once but several times.40 The
decisions were always on the side of patriotism.
Sometimes the interests of the Societies were world-wide. In
January, 1853, the Philomathesians discussed the expediency of a
world court, and several times each Society discussed the query,
"Would a Congress of nations be effectual in preserving universal
Peace?"41 In August, 1854, the Philomathesians discussed an
international copyright law.
Some of the questions of national policy were such that on them
even members of the same political party or section might differ. One
of the chief of these was foreign immigration, which was perhaps
more often debated than any other political question, beginning with a
discussion in the Euzelian Society in July, 1838; on this general topic
was the question of the length of residence of immigrants before
acquiring the right of suffrage. Other questions debated which were
fairly free from a partisan nature were the veto power of the
President; the protective tariff, which was often on the program;
rechartering the United States Bank-one of the first questions debated
before the Euzelian Society; the sale of the public lands; the election
of military leaders to the presidency; paper or metallic currency;
water and land transportation; public or private operation of the postal
service; the Cuban "fillibusters": the extension of the control of the
United States over Mexico or from pole to pole; removal of the seat of
government; two political parties; changing the Constitution by
legislative enactment ; and the support of exploring expeditions.
There was somewhat more of a political character to such questions
as to which was the greater statesman, Webster or Calhoun;
40 Eu. Records, March 10, 1844; February 3, 1845; February 15, 1856. I have
spoken of the sane discussion of Colonel Saunders. He was more than half
convinced that the "Resolves of May 31" was the only set of resolutions passed, but
thought that in substance they were a declaration of independence. The same is the
view rather weakly supported in Ashe, History of North Carolina, I, 437 ff.
41 Eu. Records, February 11, 1839; April 10, 1851.